Architecture student presents at international education symposium

May 20th, 2015 Comments Off on Architecture student presents at international education symposium

MSU architecture major Ryan Fierro recently presented his research at the 2015 North American Materials Education Symposium. (Photo by Assistant Professor Jacob Gines)

MSU architecture major Ryan Fierro recently presented his research at the 2015 North American Materials Education Symposium. (Photo by Assistant Professor Jacob Gines)

Via msstate.edu

A Mississippi State architecture major from Madison, Alabama, is adding a major international-level achievement to his resume.

Ryan M. Fierro, a third-year student in the university’s School of Architecture, recently presented two research reports at the 2015 North American Materials Education Symposium. He is a graduate of Pope John Paul II Catholic High School and an MSU President’s List Scholar.

Held this year at Ohio State University, NAMES’s sixth international meeting brought together educators, researchers, students and practitioners from a range of fields to discuss the teaching of materials.

“Building Materials Stewardship and Sustainable Practices” and “Mapping the Regional Landscape of Building Materials” were the titles of Fierro’s visual presentations.

When beginning research last summer, Fierro said he initially focused on building-product manufacturing processes for wood, glass, steel and concrete and their effects on the atmosphere and buildings in which they exist. The focus shifted, however, as he began to understand more about how certain byproducts may be used as substitutes for portland cement, the chief binding agent in concrete, he explained.

His findings were so impressive that assistant professor Jacob Gines, Fierro’s architecture faculty mentor, encouraged him to consider submitting his work at the NAMES gathering.

“The environmental impacts of producing portland cement are well documented,” Gines said. “Ryan’s research is eye-opening and informative regarding various alternatives to portland cement as a key ingredient in concrete.”

Fierro, who serves as Gines’ teaching assistant, said he built on early research findings to conclude the project with outlines of ways various substances similar to cement could be substituted and, in the process, how each could have more positive impacts on the environment.

“By its very nature, the production of portland cement is catastrophically bad for the environment,” Fierro explained. “For every pound of cement produced, an equal pound of carbon-dioxide is released into the atmosphere.”

Gines said he is very proud of the professionalism demonstrated both in Fierro’s research achievement and symposium address. “Presenting to a room full of material scientists and engineers can be daunting for an undergraduate architecture student, but Ryan did an amazing job and won the respect of many in the process,” he said.

For his part, Fierro expressed hope that the research can provide useful referential guides for designers and builders who may be considering materials covered in his reports.

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